In August, the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) announced the release of its Property Map Product datasets for open distribution via its Open Data GIS Downloads website.
The Open Data Initiative, part of a statewide effort to increase the availability and distribution of datasets to Marylanders, is intended to provide consistent and up-to-date data and streamline the process for users to access data. In the few months since the release, our analysis – done via preliminary statistics in Google Analytics – shows there has been a significant increase in the number of users obtaining MDP’s Property Map products.
From July 1, 2013 through and including June 30, 2014, MDP distributed approximately 1,275 MdProperty View and FINDER Quantum (MDP’s open source data solution) DVDs segmented by county. In the 3 ½ months since these data were made publicly available via its download website, MDP has already distributed 3,269 county and Baltimore City datasets. That is almost twice the amount of data distributed during the entire previous year.
For Maryland’s Counties and Baltimore City
When we look at the total number of downloads by jurisdiction, the results are generally what would be expected; the more populous counties and Baltimore City tend to have the highest number of data downloads. However, we suspect that the number of downloads increased thanks to our agency’s outreach notifying users when county and Baltimore City-based products had been updated and made available. For example, downloads of county data that had been updated since the August premier of the Open Data Initiative likely skew higher because of our outreach.
Web Mapping Application
In addition to making its DVD products available via download, MDP made its web-based FINDER Online Property Data Access Application publicly available. Previously, it, too, was a subscription-based application.
The number of unique visitors per month to the FINDER Online website has increased almost ten-fold since the application went public.
Data and Maps Available Via MD iMap
MDP has provided its parcel-related data and products to MD iMap for inclusion in the upcoming MD iMap 2.0 release.
This includes raster versions of the tax maps, parcel points, parcel boundaries and many other property-related data sets. Although detailed user statistics are not yet available, we expect that these datasets will be among MD iMap’s most frequently accessed map services, as many of the property-related datasets available via MD iMap will be dynamic services that also support direct data downloads.
Looking to the Future
Clearly, the number and users obtaining access to the Maryland Department of Planning’s Property Map products has increased significantly since the launch of the Open Data Initiative. We expect this trend to continue as more users become aware of the products that are available, as MDiMAP 2.0 becomes more fully utilized and as data are updated more frequently. This benefits all Marylanders. Accurate, detailed and easily accessed data on our state forms the basis for not only governmental, but also public, private and individual projects that will determine Maryland’s future.